Gary Oldham from the blog, Wingineering, offers a nice case study and analysis of the use of Twitter during three recent emergencies — the New Zealand earthquake, Colorado fires and San Bruno gas explosion.
In this post, “Twitter to the Rescue: Social Media’s Evolving Role in Disasters,” Oldham highlights the role of “dedicated and thoughtful ‘keynote’ Tweeters who have led the charge and demonstrated real leadership in getting a lot of accurate information out to the world quickly and consistently.”
In the Boulder fires, Oldham notes the work of @laurasrecipes (”foodie blogger” Laura Levy) and @fishnette (University of Colorado professor Sandra Fish) “curating” scanner traffic and disseminating valid, credible information. He also gives props to Project EPIC whose TweakTheTweet initiative has provided “automated timelines and mapping of tweeted information about structures burned, evacuations, evacuation centers and other data on the fires in Boulder.”
A fire truck drives past a home destroyed by the Fourmile Canyon fire (Associated Press photo).
In the San Bruno incident, Oldham also compliments the efforts of @firetracker2 who urged locals through Twitter to stay off their cell phones to keep the network available for public safety responders at the scene.
For those interested in Twitter and emergencies, I recommend reading the whole post which can be found here.